The Church Outside The Camp
Scriptural and Practical Notes For Isolated Believers (Part Two of Two)
This article is written to address the thoughts, needs and concerns
of people who have already made the decision to worship
"outside the camp" for good and proper reasons.
THE CHURCH SERVICE
What is Worship?
We might be forgiven for thinking the meaning of the word "worship" is "a set service of routine activities relating to our belief in God". The word has lost its biblical sense in many cases. Churches proudly state that if you arrive at 10.30 on Sunday you can partake in "Morning Worship" but in reality very little will happen that pertains to the worship of God as described in the Bible.
According to God's word, worship is not an organised "service" but the spontaneous expression of love and adoration of God, whatever form that happens to take.
In Gen 24:24-27 and Exod 4:29-32 worship is a heartfelt prayer of thanks for provision; in Matthew 28:9 it is a spontaneous adoration of Jesus. In Rev 3:9 we see apostates forced to admit their mistake, and the reference to "worship" here involves humility, repentance and submission. "Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee."
The word used in the Old Testament for "worship" (shachah) shows that it has to do with our humility in the sight of God and not something we confidently DO, or OFFER to please Him. In the OT "worshipping" meant prostrating oneself, crouching down or falling down in awe, fear or wonder. It meant lowering oneself to a place of humble beseeching and reverence for God.
Although you might think New Testament worship would lose this sense of man's obeisance before a mighty God, the Greek word most commonly used for the worship of Jesus or God is very similar - proskuneo -derived from the concept of a faithful dog licking its master's hand. It means to crouch, prostrate oneself and do homage.
Do we "go to church" carrying this sense of who God is? Do we go to fall at the feet of an Almighty and Holy God before whom we tremble? (Isa 66:2). Or do we go in a sense of pride and pleasure at our ability to craft a "worship service" that is entertaining, musically pleasant and exactly the right length for us to reach home before the joint is overcooked?
Let those who pride themselves in their regular "church-going" reflect on the meaningless of their activities if they are not worshipping in the Bible sense of the word. On the other hand, those who meet one evening a month with a small dedicated group of believers, may find themselves truly worshipping the Lord as they pour out their hearts in prayer and adoration. They may even find themselves prostrate on the floor as the greatness of God grips their hearts.
What about Communion?
There has developed (in this country at least) an almost Roman Catholic attitude to the importance of taking communion in church. Some feel that if they do not take the bread and wine once a week, they are out of fellowship with God and the Church.
One woman we fellowshipped with in a home group had decided to join us during the week because her church (High-Church Anglican) was made up almost completely of unsaved nominal people and offered nothing in the way of biblical teaching or worship. Nevertheless she persisted in attending week by week, and accused us of being out of the will of God because we did not "go to church to take communion".
Of all things, communion, or "breaking of bread" seems to be the sticking point. Yet if you read what the Bible has to say, you see no such ritualistic attitude.
The occasion of Jesus commanding his followers to "remember Me" when they broke bread and drank the wine together was the Passover celebrations. Some have argued therefore that this was a once-yearly remembrance of Jesus' death.
However it is true that the disciples also "broke bread" together in the normal course of life. Providing food and drink for one another, as today, was part of their hospitality. The believers met over a meal, and when they broke the bread, they remembered the breaking of the body of Jesus, for he had told them "I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst" (John 6:35)
This is well illustrated in Paul's letter to the Corinthians. It is clear that the breaking of bread and drinking of the communal cup took place in an informal atmosphere where other food and drink was also enjoyed - in the case of the Corinthians, though, to excess!
Paul warns them not to let this special time of fellowship become just a party with Christians scrabbling to eat and drink rather than understand the spiritual meaning of the "one loaf" and the "broken bread". The Corinthians enjoyed the idea of a communal meal, but they were losing sight of the significance of "breaking bread" together.
"Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord's Supper. For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk… Shall I praise you in this? I do not praise you. … For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes. Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgement to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep". (1 Cor 11:20-30)
Did you know that the word translated "communion" in the NT is the same word translated elsewhere as "fellowship" - koinonia and it derives from a word meaning partnership or participation in something?
Jesus is the bread, and we partake of it, to show our partnership and participation in Him, in our "common-union" with Him and eachother. Taking the bread and wine together is therefore a practical demonstration of our unity.
Paul later used the analogy of one loaf of bread to describe the Body of believers; and to show the spiritual unity within that Body.
"The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread". (1 Cor 10:16-17)
Jesus used the bread to demonstrate his sacrifice of his own body on the cross. The bread and wine had no sacramental meaning beyond that. They were certainly not magical elements in themselves. Thus breaking bread and drinking wine was not a religious ritual for the early believers, so much as a practical aid to demonstrate the reality of their oneship with Christ and eachother.
But even without that practical aid, the reality of our oneness with Jesus, and our partnership with Him and eachother is still intact. There is nothing particularly sacred or special about going up to an altar rail to get a wafer and drink out of a chalice. This does not confer any special blessing or do anything magical! We could, if we chose, celebrate "communion" even without breaking bread!
However, most small groups have a time of breaking bread using a simple loaf of bread and some red wine or even blackcurrant juice. This is JUST as valid and meaningful (I would say, more so) than going to a church building amongst strangers and the unsaved to "take communion".
The most moving and meaningful times of "Communion" I have had, have been simple sharing of a loaf of bread and wine in a shared cup, while silently thinking about the meaning of the sacrifice of Jesus. However small the group, participation in The Lord's Supper is still possible.
Here is another stumbling block for many outside the system. Some feel that they can learn nothing without the help of some "qualified" Teacher or well-known name. They escape from abusive and authoritarian churches where their leaders tell them what to believe (and brook no argument) but then when they find themselves isolated, they feel the want of a man to teach them.
Another related fear is that Christians will somehow go astray and fall into error if they rely just on themselves and the Bible.
This should not happen if people are determined to depend on God for instruction, for he has promised to send the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth. Even in the Old Testament, God's people did not go astray so long as they sought God for guidance:
"Now for a long season Israel hath been without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law. But when they in their trouble did turn unto the LORD God of Israel, and sought him, he was found of them". (2 Chr 15:3-4)
The most dependable and safe teacher we can have is God! Paul received all the truths of the gospel faithfully preached by God, not man:
"But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ". (Gal 1:11-12).
The Lord who instructed Paul can also instruct you:
"But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him". (I Jn 2:27)
"But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another". (1Thes 4:9).
I know numerous people who left their fellowships because of domineering leadership, and because they were being forced to accept all the leader's beliefs, only to adopt a "pet preacher" for themselves as soon as they come out. That Minister's tapes and books become their exclusive food, and no they make no decision on doctrine before asking "what does so-and-so say about it?". Since no one person (however sound) has all the truth, this course of action can only result in an unbalanced viewpoint and an attitude of hero-worship that is very unhealthy.
Other groups, sadly, did not last long because they never broke the habit of relying on itinerant teachers and speakers, some of whom they imported from miles away. Every meeting they felt they had to "have a speaker" and the only topic of conversation was "who shall we have next time?"
It's as if the only experience of "church" some people have known is going to a large meeting to hear somebody speak! (Presumably the songs and prayers are considered mere padding to the main event). Thus they try desperately to re-create this experience outside of a church structure. However, this will dry up and kill any remnant fellowship! It will also leave the group wide open to abuse, and in one case I have seen a false prophet sweep in and woo away most of the group, who are now more in thrall to false teachings than ever before! All due to their desire to follow MAN's teachings, instead of seek the Lord directly.
Doctrine (teaching) and a right understanding of the word does not come by listening to tapes and reading books (although these are a help at times) but by going to the Source Book, the Bible and allowing God the Holy Spirit to lead you in your studies. The dead letter of the word gives no illumination as to its meaning, but the holy Spirit will illuminate the word and give it real spiritual life and meaning to your heart, as you rely on Him as your Teacher.
How to Study the Bible
You and your group can find your own way of studying. Some find topical studies useful, following through all the scriptures relating to a topic; others find the use of keywords enlightening, tracing the uses of a certain phrase or word in scripture. There are many other ways of studying the Bible, too, and it should never be a tedious, dull, uninspired slog, but an exciting, thrilling journey of discovery and joy.
The main thing is to do this together, as a joint project, with no one person having all the answers. As you look up the scriptures, talk about them and share your thoughts, the Holy Spirit will lead you deeper into its meaning, and will back it up with practical demonstrations in your life. While a more experienced person could perhaps set a topic, prepare a few notes, and make sure the study stays on track, there should be NO pushing of one person's viewpoint to the exclusion of all others.
Our experience of teaching in "church" has often been a twenty-minute sermon delivered from either a pulpit or the front of the congregation, by the Pastor or another accredited teacher. Everyone else was supposed to sit attentively, take notes, and absorb the wisdom of the elders. If heresy was taught, or a scripture wrongly dealt with, you (as a mere church member) had no opportunity to correct it, or point it out to others. Any interruption to the preacher's sermon would be seen as out of order.
In the Bible, the "lecture" style of delivering a message to others is used for imparting important fresh information, or giving instructions to a large group of people. For example, In Deuteronomy Chapter five: "Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgements which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and keep, and do them."
Paul spoke to the gathered brethren (at such length that one man fell asleep!) in Acts 20:7-11. And supremely of course in what we now call the "sermon on the mount" we see Jesus addressing a large crowd of people, telling them things that were strange and unheard of.
This style of lecture-teaching is found in the Bible where large numbers of people are involved, and where a large amount of new information or instruction needs to be imparted quickly to them all. However, once the new material has been assimilated, the apostles did not continue to lecture or sermonise, but allowed for sharing and discussion.
This second kind of ongoing instruction is done in small groups and families. It is a more informal "conversational" or "question-and-answer" style of teaching in which ALL participate, not just one man at the front.
This kind of instruction in God's ways is commanded for instance in Deut 6:6-7
"And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up".
The Lord hears and commends those who talk about and share the things of God as a natural matter of course. See how those who love the Lord share the word here:
"Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him". (Malachi 3:16-17).
We often learn more by talking, sharing, thinking around a subject, commenting on it and passing our discoveries back and forth between us, than we do by one single lecture. In small groups, it is inappropriate for one member to stand and orate at length to all the others as if he or she were somehow a cut above the rest. The kind of teaching that is most helpful for small informal fellowships is the conversational teaching that is an ongoing, living process, just as growth in a child does not happen all at once but little by little, imperceptibly.
There are certainly times when one member will give a more lengthy dissertation on a biblical subject, but to force such a lecture at every meeting is a mistake.
One small group that I knew well many years ago had come out of their local apostate church and decided to hold meetings in their homes. So they commissioned an elaborate wooden lectern for their living room, and bought hymn books to give out at the door. Then they assembled a rota of visiting speakers, and after an introductory hymn and a prayer, one of these speakers would stand behind the lectern and speak for an hour or so. Not long after, they bought an organ to play the hymns, and made a ruling that no modern songs must be used. They had left the church system, but the church system had not left them!
There are many who are more qualified than I to speak about the question of children in small groups "outside the camp". My husband and I have no children, but I know of some small meetings where young and older children are happily integrated as part of the extended "family" and are not excluded from the main meetings as is so often the case in larger churches.
There is no reason why children should not participate in fellowship meetings, and contribute questions, or things to share. Children often provide a fresh outlook on the Bible.
The Bible way is for parents to instruct their growing children at home.
"Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding. For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law. For I was my father's son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother. He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live". (Prov 4:1-4)
God did not command us to send our children away from home on a Sunday, in order to be taught by virtual strangers. They need the close affectionate and relevant attention that only parents can give (or members of the extended church family if they have become trusted allies.) This is important if difficult things are to be shared, or discipline is needed.
"My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother". (Prov 1:8)
"The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him". (Prov 31:1)
"Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many. I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths. When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble". (Prov 4:10-12)
I will leave the practical advice on just how to integrate children into a small group, and keep them happy, to others who have more experience.
One further point: some who have left their fellowships now find it hard to know what to say to older children and teenagers who are forced to leave friends behind. They also feel that they cannot offer anything like the range of organised activities that their former church arranged for the youngsters. This too is a problem of which I have no first-hand experience, but it seems to me that alternative activities could and should be found outside of an apostate church environment.
It also seems unwise to allow impressionable and spiritually open young people to continue attending a fellowship (unsupervised) which has been deemed unsuitable for mature Christian adults! The excuse that they will have to break up friendships is not enough to risk the spiritual damage that could be done, possibly breaking up the entire family in the long run.
The children should be made to see what deception is, how it harms people and why sacrifices have to be made to follow the Lord. And if the children are not yet saved, they are much more likely to be interested in a small informal meeting than large church services. In that atmosphere they can freely discuss their doubts and be gently led towards the Lord.
Mission and Converts
Another criticism aimed at those outside the church structures is that they are ineffective. They cannot organise large evangelistic outreaches or major charitable projects.
But biblical evangelism is sharing the gospel with local people and friends as the occasion arises. Statistics are misleading but I think you will find that many more people are saved through the one-to-one friendly contact with workmates or friends than through large-scale evangelistic events.
Major church projects might look impressive, but are they as effective as people claim? Is there in fact more work being done in the background by individuals with a love for the Lord and a discerning heart, than up on a stage with a white suit and a rock group?
In any case, we should not be going outside of God's leading when preaching the gospel, but only speaking when prompted and using appropriate, relevant material. Aiming one message at everybody together sometimes works but it is a blunderbuss approach and I do not believe it is what God really intended for evangelism. Each individual comes to the Lord in a slightly different manner, having different needs which we have to understand and cater for. Also, each individual has a different lifestyle. Some may need bold speaking on the subject of sin, while some may need gentle coaxing and loving support, others again need deliverance. We cannot know these things without personal contact, and that contact is made much easier when we can invite people into our home for a meal, or invite them to join us in an informal time of fellowship.
Those who are wary of "church" because all they know about it is "bells and smells" will be intrigued and possibly delighted to discover the real "church" of living stones!
The problem of "where do we send new converts?" is answered when we have a small group (or a slightly larger but still intimate group) of people who know, love and trust one another. Converts can fit in right away, be nurtured, watched over and steered in the right direction without making them feel intimidated or out of place.
Teaching can be tailored exactly to their needs, and their questions can be answered by a number of people. There is no substitute in larger churches for this kind of hands-on person-to-person caring and nurturing for new converts. They will learn from the word 'go' to seek the Lord in prayer, study the Bible for themselves and not depend on others to create their spiritual lives! That is a priceless inheritance for any new believer.
Other projects that we think cannot be achieved outside "proper" churches are church outings, charitable works and helping in the community. But why not, I ask? Where there's a will, there's a way. There is nothing to stop members of a small group setting aside sums of money for good works, or going to visit hospital wards and old folk's homes; and why not organise a fellowship trip to the seaside?
Church fellowship should be fun, liberating and full of joy. We should not see our relationships as all on a spiritual plane, where we only talk about the bible, and never meet except to pray! No - let's relate as people, take the children to a theme park, organise a meal together at a restaurant, and just chat!
There is no need to worry about how to baptise new believers. In the bible we see believers being baptised (and I mean immersed) wherever there was water available, and we can do the same.
Speaking for myself, I was baptised at the local swimming baths (in the shallow end I hasten to add) and I know people who have been baptised in a domestic bath. Sometimes, groups can borrow the baptistery of a sympathetic church for the day, or in summer go to a secluded lake, or even buy a large paddling pool. Improvise!
Iam always surprised when people ask me this question. I assume every Christian has a natural desire to fellowship and will spontaneously pray, sing or share from the word. But of course that is not the case. There are lovely Christians who would not dare open their mouths in a meeting, even to pray.
We have to cater for the needs of all. This is MUCH easier when we have come to know everybody well, and we are all saved (unlike the situation in many organised churches!).
The shy ones need to be encouraged, and the domineering ones need to be hindered so we create a balance where all can be helped to grow.
Exactly how this is done is not something I plan to cover in this article, and each group must work out their own answers. However, the Bible does give a number of examples of what we should expect to see in our worship meetings:
"How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying". 1 Cor 14:26
"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him". Col 3:16-17
"Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God". Eph 5:19-21
There are a number of pointers here to what we should do (although the Lord Himself will lead you.) We should expect to see some:
- sharing of revelations
- bible teaching
- practical illustrations of doctrine drawn from everyday life
- tongues and interpretations (if people with these gifts are present)
- admonishing one another
- singing (psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, sometimes created on the spur of the moment)
- thanksgiving and praise
- adoration and worship
- intercession and other prayers
None of this should follow a set routine, and all the while we should be open to the Holy Spirit's leading. If God wants us to spend all evening discussing one bible verse, then so be it. If we spend the time just singing and praising, then if that is what God wants, then it is the best possible use of our time. Be flexible!
But I am on my own - what about me?
This article has been written from the point of view of those who are meeting in small groups or with members of their family, or with one or two friends.
However, it is a fact (sadly) that many have come out of fellowships knowing that they have nowhere else to attend, and nobody with whom to worship. Possibly they are single, or married to unbelievers, or simply don't know anybody else in the locality.
This is clearly not an ideal situation for any Christian. It is perhaps the most difficult and trying situation of all and after a time isolated Christians can fall prey to loneliness, guilty feelings and a pressure to "go somewhere" simply for the sake of attending some local expression of Christian worship.
It is a step of bold faith to part company with a local church, because they have rejected sound doctrine, and decide to seek God alone. The decision not to compromise with error can soon be shaken by those who see it as their business to pour scorn and criticism on every isolated believer, telling them they are out of line with God's will and even in danger of losing their salvation. This is not helpful, and it all adds to the pressures to give in and "go back" which is not what God wants.
If there is no suitable local fellowship, and nobody known to you with whom you can meet for prayer and bible study (at least) then rather than decide to cave in and go back to the wrong kind of church, you should trust God to provide fellowship for you and to lead you to other like-minded Christians.
Here are a few pointers (by no means an exhaustive list of instructions!) for isolated believers outside the camp. They also apply in many cases to ANYONE coming out of a fellowship:
Make sure, first of all, you are not harbouring anger and bad feeling towards people at your former fellowship. This can block the way forward with God and hinder your Christian walk. Set about shaking the dust off your feet in practical ways, forgiving those you left behind, making a decision not to get involved in an ongoing dispute by letter or phone call, and not brooding about the situation day after day.
It is often a good idea, and sometimes very needful, to make a definite spiritual cutting-off in prayer from what has been done and taught at your old fellowship, especially if you have had laying on of hands there, or been involved in various unbiblical things. Simply repent before God and make a positive break with all of that, laying it down before the Lord in prayer. Some find it helpful to make a statement of disassociation of those former ways in the Name of Jesus, commanding in His Name all the ties of the former fellowship to be broken.
Don't allow other people to dictate your thoughts and feelings and beliefs. If they phone you or contact you, don't let them sway your judgement by any manipulation or guilt-trip or by trying to make you fearful of the future. Be strong in the Lord and remind yourself of the basic reasons why you choose to leave. Stand firm on what you know to be God's will. One person with God is a majority.
People will often try to persuade you that your reasons for leaving your church were wrong, and that for the sake of others left in the system you should go back and minister the truth to them. However, I have rarely if ever seen a lone Christian make any change in a church where the pastor and many others are set on error. (Quite the reverse - the church has a way of eroding the determination of many who stay in the system.) If you have made your point, stood up for the truth, spoken out against error and been ignored, then you have no choice but to leave, and you are NOT responsible for the faith and decisions of everyone else at that church. They also have the Holy Spirit and minds of their own. They must make their own choices.
Remember that many of the bible saints of God were loners or were isolated through no choice of their own. Think of Joseph in Egypt, Daniel in Babylon, Elijah, John the Baptist and Paul the Apostle. Each had their experience of isolation and spent long periods without conventional "fellowship". Yet God used them, taught them and kept them from falling away from the faith.
Realise that you need to develop your personal Christian life and not be moulded by the world around you. Without a set time of worship it is easy to just drift. Therefore you will need discipline in order to maintain times of prayer, bible study and worship. Do these when it suits you. There is no merit in deciding to force yourself out of bed at five in the morning just because it feels "spiritual". After the first couple of days you'll give up! Choose a time when you know you can be relaxed and uninterrupted, whatever the time of day.
Don't think that ALL your Christian growth and worship must come from formal times of bible reading and prayer. Worship is a lifestyle, not a single act, or a "service" in a church. Those who worshipped Jesus did so out of spontaneous sense of love and adoration (Matt 28:9). Any time of the day or night is a good time to tell God how much you love and worship him!
Similarly, don't despise the little ways in which we all learn and grow. The newspaper that sparks a thought about God, somebody's remark that causes you to meditate on the goodness of God; a phone call where you share with another Christian how both of you are being blessed and helped. Just a chance meeting with somebody else, another like-minded believer, can give weeks of pleasure and satisfaction, and be very meaningful.
Singing is a good expression of praise and worship. If you have the opportunity, and can carry a tune (or even if not!) try singing around your home, or whenever you have the opportunity. Some hymns have good scriptural words and are easier to remember than modern songs. Or just use whatever blesses and inspires you. I used to sing aloud as I cycled to work and I had SUCH a good time of praise at those times! The rhythm of the pedals often inspired me to make up songs of my own that were a real blessing to my spirit. It doesn't matter how basic or simple these songs are, God understands!
Take advantage of any good conferences or public meetings where there will be people that you know are sound, and where other remnant believers will attend. These are like an oasis along the desert path.
Trust God, for he knows how to provide hidden manna in the wilderness and to open springs of water from the rocks along the way. It is often surprising how well nourished we can be on the fare that God provides in a desert situation! When we meet Christians still "going to church" we compare their situation and lives to our own and suddenly realise we have grown MUCH more since leaving the fellowship than ever we did inside it!
Many times during our history we can see true believers experiencing isolation or living "outside the camp". In fact, it is probably the "normal" experience for most genuine believers throughout the Church age! Everytime the visible Church faltered and fell into apostasy there were those who rekindled the flame of truth, but more often than not it meant coming out of their fellowships (or being driven out) and starting afresh in their homes with one or two others.
Now at this time of gross apostasy, heading full-scale into the endtimes antichrist deception, more than even God has preserved a remnant of believers for Himself in every nation. Some are still attending good churches, others are not, but increasingly we are seeing a move to ONE Body of believers out of every denomination, all of whom have the desire to preserve biblical truth and a biblical expression of the love of God.
We cannot see exactly where it will end. Perhaps God will add to our numbers and we will see some kind of home-based Church forming that will be given the task of teaching, evangelising, ministering to and delivering the lost. Or perhaps we will see a decrease in numbers instead and end up like the believers in communist countries who met in secret. Only God knows.
But whatever the future holds for us, we must never be persuaded to compromise with the Harlot system simply for the sake of submitting to the traditions, rules and government of MEN. What God commands is obedience to his WORD and to HIMSELF as our only Lord. Where that conflicts with the traditions and demands of man, so be it!
And may all those who read this be inspired and comforted in the Lord.
© 1995-2013 Tricia Tillin of Banner Ministries. All rights reserved. Cross+Word Website: http://www.banner.org.uk/ This document is the property of its author and is not to be displayed on other websites, redistributed, sold, reprinted, or reproduced in printed in any other format without permission. Websites may link to this article, if they provide proper title and author information. One copy may be downloaded, stored and/or printed for personal research. All spelling and phraseology is UK English.